Jackie Porter had to find a way to sup­port her­self at an early age. Now, she ad­vises clients on sur­viv­ing life’s set­backs

Investment Executive - - FRONT PAGE - BY LEAH GOLOB IE

Jackie Porter tries to in­stil “fi­nan­cial re­silience” in her clients.

when jackie porter talks to clients about“fi­nan­cial re­silience,” she speaks from ex­pe­ri­ence.

A fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor in Mis­sis­sauga, Ont., Porter bases the ad­vice she gives her clients on an abil­ity to with­stand the set­backs and chal­lenges life throws at all of us — both fi­nan­cially and emo­tion­ally.

Porter’s ap­proach springs from a hard les­son in re­silience she learned at an early age.

When Porter was just 16 years old, her mother, who was Porter’s sole guardian, passed away from stom­ach can­cer shortly af­ter re­ceiv­ing her di­ag­no­sis. Porter be­came re­spon­si­ble for her own well-be­ing. She worked two part­time jobs and shared an apart­ment with a friend while earn­ing a high-school diploma.

“[That sit­u­a­tion] made me re­ally cog­nizant of the fact that you never know how long you’re go­ing to live or what life is go­ing to bring you,” Porter says. “And that’s why the theme of my busi­ness is ‘fi­nan­cial re­silience’.”

Af­ter high school, Porter pur­sued a bach­e­lor of arts de­gree in psy­chol­ogy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions at York Uni­ver­sity. Soon there­after, she picked up her first full-time job, sell­ing net­work­ing equip­ment for Bell Canada. When Bell be­gan down­siz­ing, Porter was of­fered a buy­out pack­age, which she ac­cepted.

Porter was re­ferred to a fi­nan­cial plan­ner to ad­vise her about the sev­er­ance pack­age. Meet­ing that fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor changed the course of Porter’s ca­reer.

Says Porter: “That was the first time I had heard there was such a field [as fi­nan­cial plan­ning] and that I ac­tu­ally could have money work for me.”

Porter be­gan her ca­reer in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor by work­ing as an in­surance ad­vi­sor for a cou­ple of in­surance firms. She joined her cur­rent firm, Carte Wealth Man­age­ment Inc., in 2008.

Porter, who is 47 years old, is a cer­ti­fied fi­nan­cial plan­ner. She sells in­surance and in­vest­ment prod­ucts and of­fers fi­nan­cial plan­ning ad­vice on a fee-only ba­sis. Her prac­tice now com­prises a full­time, three-per­son team, which in­cludes an as­sis­tant and a “client ex­pe­ri­ence” man­ager. Porter also has a part-time em­ployee who helps with so­cial me­dia.

A large por­tion of Porter’s clients are le­gal and health-care pro­fes­sion­als, and that fo­cus has led to an­other de­mo­graphic niche: many of these clients are sin­gle women over 45 years of age. These women of­ten are con­cerned about fund­ing their re­tire­ment on their own and need a fi­nan­cial plan.

Sat­is­fied clients some­times re­fer their sin­gle fe­male friends to Porter, a trend that has helped her ex­pand in this niche.

Ad­vis­ing this client seg­ment led Porter to co-write a book with her men­tor and friend, Jill O’Donnell, who is an el­der-care spe­cial­ist. That book, en­ti­tled Sin­gle by Choice or Chance: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Liv­ing Longer, Bet­ter, pub­lished in 2016 by In­som­niac Press, ad­dresses the fi­nan­cial and life­style chal­lenges sin­gle women face af­ter they reach mid­dle age. The book is in­tended to be a ref­er­ence that read­ers can re­turn to at dif­fer­ent stages of their lives.

“I was raised by a sin­gle mom,” Porter says, “which is why I’m pretty pas­sion­ate about women be­ing able to take care of them­selves.”

In Porter’s prac­tice, as in her book, she helps guide clients through un­ex­pected life tran­si­tions.

“The top three risks that peo­ple face are not re­lated to the [fi­nan­cial] mar­kets,” she says. “They’re los­ing your health, los­ing your job and di­vorce.”

In ad­di­tion to help­ing clients with­stand the fi­nan­cial as­pects of ca­reer changes and mar­i­tal break­down, Porter ad­vises clients who have re­cently re­ceived a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

“This has a lot to do with what I saw my mother go through,” she says.

Porter, through her vol­un­teer work with the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety and, more re­cently, Gilda’s Club, has heard many sto­ries of Cana­di­ans faced with fi­nan­cial un­cer­tainty af­ter a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

Porter helps her clients to cre­ate a strat­egy for sur­viv­ing a can­cer di­ag­no­sis fi­nan­cially — an ex­pe­ri­ence that can be dev­as­tat­ing, both emo­tion­ally and fi­nan­cially.

“I’m in the trenches with peo­ple who have been through it,” says Porter, who helps her clients take stock of their sav­ings and health-care ex­penses and pro­vides ad­vice to clients about how long their money will last.

Porter also notes that crises don’t nec­es­sar­ily come one at a time: “The funny thing about life is it cas­cades. So, some­times when you get sick, you might get di­vorced and you might lose your job all at the same time. I try to give clients in­no­va­tive ways to un­der­stand their fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stance, un­der­stand their cash flow, take re­spon­si­bil­ity and also build hope for the fu­ture when they can start sav­ing again.”

Porter’s work sur­round­ing fi­nan­cial re­silience — and her book — have led to fre­quent paid speak­ing en­gage­ments, an ac­tiv­ity that has helped to build her busi­ness. Of­ten, she speaks to groups of lawyers and at events that fo­cus on women in busi­ness.

Porter’s other mar­ket­ing ef­forts pri­mar­ily in­volve LinkedIn. Her part-time em­ployee cu­rates in­for­ma­tion re­lated to fi­nan­cial re­silience and cre­ates a so­cial­me­dia cal­en­dar for Porter to ap­prove. Porter also uses the plat­form her­self, of­ten to share in­for­ma­tion about up­com­ing events she plans to at­tend.

In Porter’s spare time, she loves to at­tend live the­atre and has found a suc­cess­ful way of in­cor­po­rat­ing that pas­sion into her prac­tice through an an­nual event she calls Food for Thought.

Through Food for Thought, Porter pro­vides her clients with dis­counted tick­ets to plays per­formed at the Strat­ford Fes­ti­val, a live the­atre fes­ti­val in Strat­ford, Ont. Porter also de­vel­ops part­ner­ships with in­vest­ment com­pa­nies to help pay for a group din­ner as part of each ex­cur­sion.

Last year, for ex­am­ple, Porter and her clients watched the mu­si­cal Guys and Dolls, fol­lowed by a meal at the Queen’s Inn. Dur­ing din­ner, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Dy­namic Funds led a dis­cus­sion on re­ceiv­ing re­turns in a slow-growth mar­ket. That talk was fol­lowed by an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion by au­thor El­iz­a­beth Ver­wey, who de­scribed her trav­els around the world as a sin­gle woman.

Typ­i­cally, 25 to 30 clients and their friends at­tend a Food for Thought event.

Porter says she was a self-pro­fessed “sin­gle woman for life.” Then, four years ago, she met her life part­ner, Rick — iron­i­cally, just as she was be­gin­ning to write her book about sin­gle life. She and Rick love beaches and en­joy trav­el­ling to the Caribbean.


Jackie Porter spe­cial­izes in of­fer­ing fi­nan­cial ad­vice to sin­gle women over the age of 45. She of­ten speaks to lawyers and busi­ness groups.

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